Russell Wilson’s impressive movement skills have masked a lot of deficiencies on Seattle’s offensive line since the star quarterback took over the huddle for the Seahawks as a rookie in 2012.
Wins and a lot of them have followed as Wilson has piloted the Seahawks to the best run in franchise history, including four straight postseason appearances, a Super Bowl title and a yard away from another.
Through it all, though, the 5-foot-11 signal caller has been under siege behind an offensive line that at its peak was never all that good but usually had a player or two you could rely on each and every week like Russell Okung or Max Unger.
The 2016 version of the offensive line cobbled together by Pete Carroll and Tom Cable might be the worst Wilson has ever lined up behind and while the wins by and large continue to pile up, so do the injuries for the 27-year-old QB.
Already dealing with nagging ankle and knee injuries, Wilson hurt his right pectoral muscle during a Chandler Jones’ strip sack in an ugly 6-6 tie last week against Arizona which featured two things, atrocious offensive line play on both sides and almost mind-numbing kicking as both Chandler Catanzaro and Steven Hauschka missed opportunities to win the game in overtime with bunnies from under 30 yards.
At 4-1-1, however, Seattle remains in the driver’s seat in what is turning out to be a poor NFC West but that narrative only holds up if Wilson remains healthy and ready to go come January.
And it’s disturbing when you see your franchise player’s name in print with parentheses and the words, knee, ankle and pec following it.
Wilson has been an ironman during his first four-plus seasons in this league but for the first time this week he was listed as limited in practice as the injuries continue to pile up.
That said, no one doubts that Wilson will be on the field this week when he and the Seahawks visit Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints and true to form, Wilson was downplaying his latest malady.
“Not concerned. Not concerned crazy or anything like that,” he said.
Seattle should be concerned, though, because Wilson is clearly not 100 percent and he hasn’t been this entire season as evidenced by his significant downtick in rushing yards.
The sprained MCL he suffered in Week 3 is usually a multi-week injury for others and plenty in this league have missed time with a strained pec.
“I’d be lying to you if I said my mobility is a hundred percent. But I feel really good right now,” Wilson claimed.
There are many reasons Wilson is a winner and playing the role of leader is one of them. He’s never going to throw his teammates under the bus but that doesn’t mean Carroll has to ignore what’s going on here.
If that means ordering offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to use more max protection or building a different game plan heavy on getting the football out of Wilson’s hand earlier, the Seahawks have to straddle the fence of getting a banged-up player healthy when he’s actually on the field.
And that’s a tough equation to solve but one that will ultimately determine if the Seahawks will get another opportunity at another deep playoff run.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.